Banknotes

There are over 3.9 billion Bank of England notes in circulation. Together they are worth about £71 billion.

Overview 

Confidence in banknotes is important for keeping the whole economy functioning. That is why we work hard to ensure our notes are high quality, durable and difficult to counterfeit.

Our banknotes

Our notes are designed to be difficult and time consuming to copy. We work closely with De La Rue, the company that currently prints our notes, to ensure they are of a consistently high quality.

There are four denominations (values) of Bank of England notes in circulation: £5, £10, £20 and £50.

  • The Bank of England banknotes. There are four denominations of banknotes in circulation: £5, £10, £20 and £50. There are £5, £10 and £20 notes printed on polymer. And £20 and £50 notes printed on paper. This film will run through a number of key security features. You should check these features to ensure notes are genuine.

    The following security features are found on the polymer notes. There is a large see-through window. A portrait of the Queen is printed on the window with the numerical value of the note and the words 'Bank of England' printed twice around the edge. A metallic image is positioned over the window. The foil is gold on the front of the £5 and £10 notes and blue and gold on the front of the £20 note. The foil is silver on the back of all notes. On the polymer £20 note, there is a second, smaller window in the bottom corner of the note.

    Below the large see-through window on the front of the notes, there is a silver foil patch containing a hologram. When you tilt the notes from side to side, the words change between the value of the note and 'Pounds'. A 3D image of the coronation crown appears above the see-through window.

    The following security features are found on the paper notes. When you tilt the paper £20 note from side to side, the holographic images on the foil strip change between a '£' symbol and the number '20'. When you tilt the £50 note up and down or side to side, the images on the green motion thread change between a '£' symbol and the number '50'. When paper banknotes are held up to the light, there is a bright denomination at the top of the Queen's portrait in the watermark.

    Some security features are common across all current Bank of England banknotes. On the front of any of the notes, you can feel raised print. For example, on the words 'Bank of England' and in the bottom right corner. Under a good quality ultraviolet light, the numerical value appears in bright red and green on the front of the notes, against a duller background.

    The Bank of England banknotes

Upcoming banknotes

We will issue a new £50 note in 2021. It will be printed on polymer and it will feature the mathematician Alan Turing.

This page was last updated 06 July 2020
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